Middle School Home-Based Learning Plan

Our Campus is Closed.
Our Learning Community Continues.

Dear Middle School Families,

I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and adjusting well. This is certainly an unexpected and complex time for all of us. As we roll out Home-Based Learning, I wanted to provide you with some specifics to look forward to. Please keep in mind that our overarching thoughts about how we conduct Home-Based Learning are centered on overall student well being. We feel very fortunate to be able to work with your families to provide some predictability in the day and continue to engage our students in learning. Please allow us to be a resource to you as your student adjusts to this new structure of learning. 

On March 25th, we will begin our Home-Based Learning (HBL) Program.  Below you will find information about our goals of the program, some ways families can help, guidelines for students, and when you can expect to connect with teachers. We know a lot of information is coming to your inbox right now. We will try to keep communication organized. The most important emails you will get will be from your child’s teachers. Please check those as a priority to keep learning moving forward.

At the Middle School age, it will be important for students to be shielded from the daily barrage of negative news and discussions.  The predictability that Home-Based Learning will offer will be a sense of security and normalcy for them. Helping them see the positives will be key.  This is an opportune time for students to develop their life skills, independence, positive work habits and flexibility in their thinking.  This can be an exciting and great time of growth for your child.  Encouraging students to be a positive, productive and thoughtful member of their online community will be essential for learning. 

Overview of Home-Based Learning (HBL) in Middle School 
Home-Based Learning in the Middle School will be a great adventure for all of us. The faculty and the students are already very savvy with technology.  The majority of students are adept at using Seesaw and with completing assignments in Google Docs.  We are confident that children will have the tools needed to keep their skills strong, increase their knowledge and continue their schooling.

Our goals for Home-Based Learning are to:

  • maintain a connection and a sense of community with our students and faculty.
  • continue to provide age- appropriate skill building activities in each subject area.
  • provide our students with a sense of well being, structure and purpose.

You can expect to see assignments and a morning message posted on Seesaw by 8:00 am each weekday. Our expectation is that each assignment for each subject area will take between 20-45 minutes. The timing of this will be adjusted as we work with the students. The online school day will not be a typical 8:00-3:00 day.  Assignments will be posted with a due date and students are expected to work through them in the daily timeframe that works best for each family.  We will continue to follow the 7 day schedule. Specialists will post assignments on the days typically scheduled for your student. 

We will start the first week with basic assignments and check-ins, while students and teachers are becoming more familiar with navigating technology and time management.  On Friday, teachers will meet virtually to discuss any changes needed for the following week in order to best meet our students’ needs and their ability to work remotely.  
We are aware that each student and family will require a different amount of time and resources to do their best work. Keep in mind that teachers will stick to the age-appropriate assignment time mentioned above.  After the first week, we will have a resource page where you can find enrichment activities as well as extra practice and reteaching activities.  Adding assignments to your child’s daily routine using the resource page will be a choice for each family.  We do recommend evening down time for students to be creative and play.

Keeping an eye on screen time and varying your student’s activities throughout the day will be an important aspect for families to manage.  Helping your students create a daily schedule that includes recess, Facetime with friends and/or family, having meals together and having household responsibilities are a good way to balance the week. Take a look at the Healthy Mind Platter website by Dr. Dan Siegal to consider some ways to add balance to the day.  Another great resource is Mindful Schools. They are offering a free virtual mindfulness class everyday for students. With that said, keep in mind that there are a plethora of resources and activities that will come your way, but there are many activities offline that students can do to enhance their learning.  I would suggest having a puzzle board and puzzle in process, set up a project area where students can create using household items that they don’t have to put away or clean up after every use,  board games, cards, crossword puzzles and crafts are very beneficial at this age.  Setting up a cozy book corner or reading fort can entice even the most reluctant reader to get comfy with a book.

As you know, Middle School students develop at different rates and each family will have different needs and ways of coping.  Please make this time as individualized and family friendly as possible. Do what works best for your family.  As a former homeschooler, I am well aware of the joys and challenges ahead of you as a family.  The process will be very personal and specific to you.  Trust yourself to know what is best for your student and your family.

We look forward to being on this journey with you. This is a unique time in history and Pike is poised and equipped to support our students through home based learning. I will be easily accessible through email and through my office phone number. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

We begin this new way of connecting with our students and families with empathy, compassion and a flexible mindset. We understand that our families and our teachers are facing their own unique challenges during this time, and we may not all be able to engage at the same level in this work together.  Please know that we will be as flexible and understanding as possible during this time.  While we hope to continue inspiring our students to learn, we know that taking care of your family’s mental and physical health is and should be your top priority.  

Please do not hesitate to reach out.
You will all be in my thoughts,

Some Questions You May Have About Home-Based Learning

Our Head of Middle School Marisa Schnirman can be contacted at mschnirman@pikeschool.org.